Political Preaching

Every election season, we see pixels spilled left and right about the idea of preaching politics from the pulpit. It’s something that is usually associated with right-wing churches, but as Libby Anne points out, occurs occasionally on the left, with somewhat fascinating results.

Evangelical and even Catholic ministers evoke fire and brimstone and the “God is watching” eternal consequences to the soul. In contrast, the UU minister encouraged us to think of the consequences to others – the poor, LGBTQ individuals, the third world where environmental catastrophe hits hardest.

While I oppose any politicking from the pulpit in any respect, I think it’s interesting to see the two approaches. One claims that your vote is important because it may or may not please an omnipotent, omniscient creature that can do nothing to alter your will except for all those times it’s done so. The other says you should consider the plight of others and how your vote will affect real, actual, living people.

Of the two of them, one of those addresses the needs of those who are provably around you, the other addresses the will of a spirit that we have no way of knowing exists or even wants us to ignore those people the UU minister tells us to think of.

It is endlessly frustrating that this goes on and the IRS does absolutely nothing about it because they can’t figure out who’s supposed to start the investigations, but at the very least we can start to move to a place where churches can teach their particular morality and trust that their parishioners can figure out what to do in the voting booth. The notion that they have a right to pay no taxes and then tell a bunch of people highly socialized to trust their authority exactly who to vote for is absolutely ridiculous. It applies to the UU as much as the Southern Baptist Convention, and I find it a little sad on both ends that they seem to have no faith in their own rhetoric.

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One thought on “Political Preaching

  1. TBF, I do think there’s a bit of a difference between saying “vote for Candidate A” and saying “hey, there’s an election on, please remember that more rides on this than your own self-interest, so when you go to the polls make sure you know what’s most important to you.” After all, part of the point of a religion is moral guidance, and part of moral guidance is nudging someone to look past themselves to the bigger picture (whatever that happens to mean to you.)

    In short, in an election where the candidates represent such vastly different directions and there really is a clash of morals and values, there is, sadly, a legitimate overlap between church and state, one that really can’t be resolved w/o telling churches that they can’t talk about moral issues at all. (Which, admittedly, some atheists might be ok with, but it’s a little problematic 🙂 )

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